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Memories of My Grandparents
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"I have a sense of these buried lives striving to come out through me to express themselves." - Marge Piercy

Maternal grandparents.

I do not remember much of my grandparents in general.

They lived in Lawrence, Kansas. They had a nice house. I loved the stairs to the second floor. The landing in between had a stained glass window. I would love to lie on the carpet and see the colors on it as the sun shone through. I seem to recall I liked sleeping there. I do not remember anything of the upstairs. I seem to recall a back porch and I liked being out there.

I remember they invited the reverend of their church to Sunday dinner. Us kids had to be on good behavior. I don't know if families do that much now of invited their local spiritual advisor to dinner.

I remember one Christmas. I received a cowgirl outfit along with a six shooter with holster. I had a skirt, vest, and a cowboy hat. I think the color of the outfit was red with white trim.

I remember my grandparents taking all of us to the hotel for Sunday brunch. I do not remember the name of the hotel. I will need to e-mail the Amazing Mz. M to see if she remembers.

There was also one store they would take us shopping to. There I would try on fancy dresses. I did not like this part. Most of those dresses made me itch.

I remember when my grandmother was ill; mother flew to Kansas to be with her. Dad and I stayed in Maine until we got the call that grandmother was dying.

I remember only parts of the trip. I liked traveling with my Dad. We had a layover in New York City, so Dad decided we would visit Uncle Paul. On our way to his apartment, I would do a wolf whistle at the girls and the girls would think it was Dad doing it. I was sternly told not to whistle anymore. It is funny now and I know when Dad told the story later on in life, he laughed about it too.

Anyway, we visited with Uncle Paul. I do not remember the flight to Kansas.

I do recall being in Aunt Lish's house. Grandmother was in the downstairs' room off of the dining room. I can remember everyone was whispering.

When she died, I do not remember that I went to the funeral.

I don't know why Grandmother was in Aunt Lish's house either instead of her own home.

After that, Grandfather moved into an apartment building in Lawrence. Whenever, the family would visit the relatives in the summer we would go see Granddad.

I remember him being tall and kind of thickset in the body. He smoked cigars which I hated the smell of. I think we even stayed one night with him. I remember not being able to sleep and hearing the sounds of the city from the room I was sleeping in.

As I recollect, mother and Granddad did not get along to well. I'm not sure why this is. Other than Dad also said that there were ill feelings in the family.

I believe we were living in Florida when Granddad died. I believe mother flew to Kansas to attend the funeral; but, I don't have much recall on this.

Paternal Grandparents.

I remember my Great-Grandfather Ben some. He was a tall slender man. I have a photo of him, my Grandfather, my Dad, and my Dad holding me.

It seems that Great-Grandfather Ben used chewing tobacco. I don't remember when he died.

My Grandfather's first wife, my Dad's birth mother, died a few days after giving birth to my Dad. Since Granddad was single then, he sent my Dad to live with Dad's Grandparents.

Then Granddad married Lena. Since Dad had spent so much time with his Grandparents and his Aunt Dorothy, Granddad decided Dad should stay where he was. I'm not sure this was such a good idea but that was what was done. I remember Dad saying that when his Grandmother would tell him no on something, Dad would call his Dad and get a yes answer. See, we kids know how to work the system!

My second Grandmother Lena, was the one I had the most contact with. I remember her being a very small woman. She knitted and especially crocheted afghans for everyone. She also collected salt and pepper shakers. I don't know what happened to her collection after she died.

My paternal grandparents lived in Augusta, Maine. Their house was small and they lived on a cul-de-sac as I recall. When I was in junior high school, I attempted to spend a holiday break with them which would have been one week. I did not take any books with me and before the week was over I was bored to death and I wanted to go home.

I remember calling my mother telling her I wanted to come home and then later Granddad drove me home.

When Grandmother Lena died, sometime later, Granddad married again. This would be the third and final Grandmother I would have. Grandmother Bessie was a short plump woman. She had a wonderful smile and she took good care of my Grandfather.

Grandmother Bessie had been married before and so she had a large family and lots of grandchildren. Her family took to my Granddad very easily but then I don't know who didn't like my Granddad.

The thing I remember most about Granddad was he wasn't hesitant about doing what he wanted to. Especially, after Grandmother Bessie died, he went to the Antarctic to see the polar bears. He and his sister, Great-Aunt Dorothy, would go on camping trips in the up-country of Maine. At one point, Aunt Dorothy insisted they stay in a hotel and travel about from there. Grandfather acquiesced to her wishes. He went flying with his attorney who had a plane. He walked the town line for the last time. Back in the day it took him a day to do this. This time around, he took my Cousin Pattie and it took them three days to make the circuit. A lot had changed in the country side and it took Granddad some time to find the markers.

Granddad was well liked and like my Dad, he was a good storyteller. There was never a dull moment with him. He was a pleasant addition to any family dinner or get together because of the stories he could tell.

When my Granddad was in his 90s, he drew up plans for a house and helped build it. He lived there for a good many years. I remember that his door bell was a wooden mallet and he had a wooden pad attached to the wall by the door. When you came to visit you would take the mallet and hit the pad to let Granddad know you were there.

In his later years, he had been going up to the retirement residence to have lunch with the boys. He did this for several years until the time came that he and the family thought it would be best if he moved in, which he did.

Every summer he would put in a garden and the bounty from that would appear in their meals. He also kept the flower gardens around the place and he always walked every day.

Even though he was in a retirement residence, he was very active with the family which lived nearby. He might have been slowing down but he was not out. He lived to the ripe old age of 102.

Within three months, his sister, my Great-Aunt Dorothy, died. I guess she felt she had taken care of him and she had completed her work on this plane of existence.

I know with this set of relatives, I really miss them. There are things I have questions and for whatever reason I did not ask them. Now, I will never know. I do know I can ask my Cousin Pattie of some of the remembrances but still there are things that even she doesn't know.

It feels kind of weird not to have my Grandparents around.

mz. em

Currently reading:
-- "Taltos" - Anne Rice
-- "The Daily Book of Art/356 readings that teach, inspire & entertain" - day 37

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